Michigan may be second in the country right now, but it’s been at the top of the list when it comes to drawing penalties.
The Wolverines have averaged more than seven penalties and almost 18 and a half penalty minutes per game this season. They trump their opponents in every penalty statistic – a fact Berenson is actively trying to change.
“Our team saw all the penalties from Lake Superior (State) weekend (Nov. 16-17) – we watched them and we critiqued them,” Berenson said. “Whacking a guy with his stick rather than skating to him to check him – that’s lazy.
“There are smart penalties, and there are bad penalties.”
Berenson said watching film helped the Wolverines before this weekend’s games. Still, Michigan tallied nine penalties against the Badgers Friday, including a five-minute major for hitting from behind and a game misconduct sophomore Brian Lebler drew in the first period.
Michigan’s fourth line of Lebler, sophomore Anthony Ciraulo and junior Danny Fardig had 21 of the team’s 29 penalty minutes Friday, including the 10 minutes of Lebler’s misconduct.
Both Berenson and captain Kevin Porter said after Friday’s game Lebler’s penalties weren’t entirely justified. Porter called the misconduct “not that great of a call” and the penalty-calling as a whole “a little out of control,” but the fourth line’s excessive time in the penalty box prompted Berenson to scratch Fardig, the most experienced player on the line, for Saturday’s game.
“That’s 11 minutes of penalties our team had to kill because of that line,” Berenson said. “That can’t happen. That’s not the purpose of that line, to take penalties. It’s supposed to be able to kill penalties and add energy to our lineup.”
WHERE IS THE LOVE?: The Wolverines stayed No. 2 in both polls released yesterday, receiving 10 first-place votes to Miami’s 24 in the USA Today poll and six first-place nods to Miami’s 44 in the USCHO poll.
“I haven’t seen (Miami), but obviously, I’ve heard a lot about them and I think they’ve got a heck of a hockey team,” associate head coach Mel Pearson said. “Just based on the teams they’ve played and the teams that we’ve beat, they’re probably deserving of that No. 1.”
This weekend, Michigan’s opponents were far superior to Miami’s – Michigan defeated the No. 14 and 15 teams in the country in Wisconsin and Minnesota, while Miami beat Canisius (2-9-2) 4-0 and 11-1 – but Miami held onto the top spot.
Though the Wolverines have now been No. 2 for weeks, the team avoids discussing its ranking during practice.
“The first time I heard we were No. 2, it was in an interview somewhere,” freshman Scooter Vaughan said. “We don’t really think about it. They don’t really talk about it much in the locker room.”
Berenson continued to call Michigan’s ranking too high and said he felt his team only moved up “from the top 20 to the top 10” this weekend.
Pearson agreed, saying the Wolverines probably aren’t second best in the nation.
“Until you’ve seen the Miamis, the Michigan States, the Notre Dames . you never know,” Pearson said. “We haven’t played any first, second, even third place teams in other leagues, so it’s still early to say we’re a top team.”
I’VE SEEN THIS BEFORE: Two more wins led to two more individual honors for the Wolverines. Porter earned CCHA Offensive Player of the Week recognition for the second week in a row after finishing with three goals and three assists this weekend. Goalie Billy Sauer was named CCHA Goalie of the Week for the third straight week after allowing just three goals in two games.